Modern life is so packed with stressors and stimuli that you easily lose sight of who you truly are on the inside, what you value and how you want to live your life. There is so much input that it has become almost impossible to notice where the energy is positive and supportive, and where the energy is leaking away, making you tired and stressed.
When you feel you are looking to external things for guidance, you may find that it is making your internal compass needle spin in all directions. This drains your energy and could eventually lead to burnout. To come back to center and to find your own way in life is very important for health and happiness.
To feel energized and to stay healthy, it's important to be critical of which energies you give access to in your life, and what of who you give your energy to. You can have it all, but when your energy is leaking away, you will still feel depleted. To come back to your core, to feel radiant, strong and centered, it is important to be aware of energy leaks and to remove them.
To get you started, here are 4 types of energy leaks to be aware of, and to take action on.
1) Mess - clean and make space.
One of the biggest energy leaks is stuff, material things, collecting dust and distracting you from what you really value. We collect so many things we don't need. It smothers your life and you can feel the burden of all those things around you. Where to put it, how to store it, not even knowing what you own and collected over the years. Stuff you have to clean or move before you can clean the floor, table, workspace, kitchen counter, room...
Begin small, start with one drawer, one cabinet section or a part of the room per day. A small piece every day will help you clean out stuff faster. In a week your kitchen/bedroom/wardrobe looks nicer, and you will find you have more space.
Throw out EVERYTHING you clear out IMMEDIATELY, donate or give to a friend who is really HAPPY with it (watch out not to shift the energetic leak of unwanted clutter to somebody else who doesn't dare to say no to your 'generous gift' or has issues with boundaries!!).
- empty your kitchen table
- clean out and rearrange your drawers
- clean out and rearrange your cabinets
- throw out or donate old clothes you don't wear or like (even those that were once gifted to you)
- remove unused kitchen utensils and donate them to the thrift shop
- sell items that are valuable but never used like electronics, collection items, tools, designer products, etc.
- delete emails from your email box.
When I moved house last November I donated around 60% of my furniture and I filled up the trunk of my car at least 20 times to drive to the recycling station in town to throw so many things away. And that was only 6 years after my last move...
Last week (after only a year of living in my new home!) I decluttered the study, and again, 2 bags of trash and 3 boxes of unused books and office supplies left my home. I now have a peaceful and beautiful space to work in, my desk is my sanctuary. I have crystals and oracle decks around me and I'm very happy with my new sacred space.
For more inspiration on cleaning and minimalizing, I recommend the popular books 'Spark Joy' and 'The Life-changing Magic of Tidying up' by Marie Kondo.
2) The news - don't watch it.
Last year, I crashed into burnout. I felt so stressed and anxious at the time and I was looking at my personal life, but what I didn't realize was that the news was adding up to my stress levels. It was around the US elections (need I say more?).
I couldn't do anything at the time, other than laying in bed or on the couch. As I was occasionally watching TV or scrolling through my FB feed, I discovered that my stress regulation was so out of order that every bit of news was disturbing to me and it resulted in anxiety attacks and arrhythmia. I decided to skip the news completely for a while. I stopped watching television, deleted news channels from my phone and unfollowed friends that shared a lot of news facts from the elections to avoid encountering stressful bits of information in my feed. That was the beginning of my healing.
Over the next few months, I slowly re-introduced some internet news channels or read an article here and there but after deleting it for a long time I realized the impact on our stress system, our minds, and bodies. The way the media portray news facts creates fear and it activates our stress system. Especially television news as it projects extremely violent images or war, crime and conflict onto our retinas at moments we are in the safety of our own home. You could call it traumatizing images that have a profound influence on our brain. Our stress systems are not built to process that much stressful information at all. We need much more downtime to digest and recuperate.
If you feel worn out, stressed or anxious I strongly advise you to take a break from the news for at least 2 weeks to see what happens. You will be stunned at the effects and the energy that stays in your body instead of leaking away towards negativity and fear.
You might want to skip it all together forever, like me, and like the generation that is growing up now and choosing their own channels (which are not traditional media).
Fear is the weapon of journalism. Don't let it poison your system. It's not worth your energy.
3) Toxins, stress - treat your body well.
To remain healthy and keep our energy levels up, be mindful of how you treat your body. Your body carries you through this life and enables you to fulfill your dreams! Like a car, it needs maintenance and care.
- Eat healthy, unprocessed foods, nutrient-dense (loaded with vitamins and minerals), avoid sugar and additives. Eat and drink with awareness, sit down, make time for it, watch and feel how your body is doing afterward. Remove things from your diet when you don't feel good after eating them.
- Hydrate. Drink more water, less coffee, less fruit juice, NO soda at all.
- Don't use alcohol, drugs or other substances that hype you and then drain you, like energy drinks. Don't smoke. All these toxins take their toll on your body. Drinking alcohol is sold to us as a socially acceptable relaxation method in commercials while in fact, it's extremely toxic to your brain and liver. When you think about it, it's bizarre that we can still buy cigarettes and alcohol. I know it's hard to give it all up. During extremely stressful times in my life, during my residency, for example, I smoked cigarettes, so I know what I'm talking about and I have been there. Your body deserves more.
- Do gentle workouts. Yoga, walking, cycling, running, swimming, all good. Try to feel what is nice and comfortable and where you are overdoing it and risking an injury. More intense is not always better.
- Take breaks and rest. Pause during working hours, don't skip your lunch break. Go outside when possible. Stop every now and then. Pause. Take a breath. Meditate for 5 minutes. Give your brain a break too. Sleep when you're tired, don't stay up late. You will be stealing from tomorrow's energy. When you do that for a long time, your system will crash and your body will not be able to recover.
- These suggestions all seem like such a cliche... but they are fundamental. We have only one body. When it's broken, it will take a long time to heal. Why not help it restore and recover every single day? It's the vehicle of the Soul, it is the tool that enables us to manifest our sacred purpose in life. Let's be mindful of how we treat our body on a daily basis.
4) Unhealthy relationships - set boundaries, or leave.
As human beings, we want to be connected with other people because that's our nature, being part of a herd, a group, a village. We feel naturally safe with other people. However, some people are not the right ones for who you are or do not support you in what you want to create in this life. It's possible that you have people in your life who have trouble recognizing and respecting boundaries or have serious problems maintaining their own energy systems, constantly taking energy from others around them.
Of course, it's important to see energy draining behavior for what it is, it's usually coming from unresolved pain. But that doesn't make it ok. It's important to recognize where you can be compassionate, feel empathy, and be of help, but also be aware where the people you are in contact with - family, friends, co-workers - are taking your power and energy by making you responsible for their pain.
When you feel drained after going out with someone, after talking on the phone, or in a meeting, try to feel into the situation and evaluate. Who or what exactly made you feel drained? Where did you feel your energy go? Can you pinpoint it? Where did it leave your body? Next time, be more aware and tell them about it. This is not easy at all!!
If you are in a relationship with someone (any form of relationship) where this dynamic is playing out over and over again and your boundaries are communicated and not respected, consider whether you want this energy drain in your life.
You are entitled to happiness, energy, and abundance and you have the power to choose who you want to be around. There is no obligation whatsoever to stay in a situation that is stressful and potentially harmful to your well-being. This is also applicable to close family. When you are 100% certain you tried your very best (be honest with yourself), and your boundaries are not respected, your wishes and needs constantly ignored, you have the right to decide to leave or cut the cord. This can be done compassionately, it's the other person's choice to take it as a conflict or an invitation to change when they are seriously interested in keeping you close. There is no need to stay where you don't belong. Life is a path with many phases and people come and go. You are the director of your life.
Breaking up with a friend, your partner or family is a very hard thing to do, but when your energy is taken away, it is the truest form of self-compassion.